USDA Might Oversee Rural Broadband


House lawmakers recently introduced the Broadband for Rural America Act.

The legislation would put the Department of Agriculture in the driver’s seat for rural broadband rather than the Federal Communications Commission.

Georgia Republican Representative Austin Scott mentioned last week, “The FCC’s had their chance, and they haven’t gotten it done.”

The bill is one of several infrastructure proposals from House Republicans.

Scott says the legislation will provide new investments for USDA connectivity programs to bring high-speed internet infrastructure to rural communities.

Specially, the bill would authorize $3.7 billion per year for rural broadband programs, including the ReConnect Rural Broadband Program, the Middle Mile Broadband Program, and the Innovative Broadband Advancement Program.

The legislation would also target assistance focused on the most rural and least-connected residents, which are often the most expensive to connect.

Finally, the bill aims to promote borrower accountability and protect taxpayers with new tools to ensure promised services are delivered to rural communities.